Commentary Magazine


Gray Lady to Obama: Double-Down!

You wonder how it is that Obama can remain so isolated, so cut off from reality. He just lost his filibuster-proof majority by losing the senate race in Massachusetts for goodness’ sake! Can’t he see that he’s led his party into a ditch? Well, no, he can’t. He talks to his staff, who put ObamaCare at the center of his agenda, and he reads the New York Times, which, with no hint of self-awareness, carries an editorial filled with the sort of self-justification that will only convince the president that, yes, of course, he’s right! The Times editors tell us:

To our minds, it is not remotely a verdict on Mr. Obama’s presidency, nor does it amount to a national referendum on health care reform — even though it has upended the effort to pass a reform bill, which Mr. Obama made the centerpiece of his first year.

Okay, the “to our minds” is the giveaway here. Obama must imagine that the minds of those who populate the Times editorial offices are representative of some significant segment of the electorate. It seems they don’t even represent the views of Massachusetts voters. I suppose if Obama were running for city council from the Upper West Side, the Times would be a good barometer of public opinion, but reading that sort of hooey only reinforces Obama’s worst instincts — arrogance, detachment, stubborness, and hyper-leftism.

The Times does, however, seem to be channeling the Obama spin. (We have here a re-enforcing loop of leftist groupthink, I suspect.) The real issue is the economy or Obama’s failure to talk to us enough about health care. (If he only did six Sunday talk shows!). The editors opine:

Mr. Obama was right to press for health care reform. But he spent too much time talking to reluctant Democrats and Republicans who never had the slightest intention of supporting him. He sat on the sidelines while the Republicans bombarded Americans with false but effective talk of death panels and a government takeover of their doctors’ offices. And he did not make the case strongly enough that the health care system and the economy are deeply interconnected or explain why Americans should care about this huge issue in the midst of a recession: If they lose their jobs, they lose their health insurance.

Got that: his only failure was in not communicating well enough to us. (What happened to the most eloquent politician of our era?) This is preposterous, of course, because Obama exhausted himself and our patience by hundreds of dog-and-pony shows, speeches, interviews, and press conferences. The problem was the the public didn’t buy what he was selling.

Obama has a choice: listen to the Times editorial board or to the voters. Republicans are keeping their fingers crossed that he chooses the former.